Tourists have begun exploring the North base camp of Annapurna I mountain in Narchang, within the Annapurna rural municipality of Myagdi, even in the autumn season.
This year, domestic tourists have come during the autumn for the first time, thanks to the newly prepared and promoted tourism facilities like trekking path, suspension bridges, resting areas, and shelters on the 'Maurice Herzog Trail' that connects the base camp to Narchang.
Shyam Purja, a ward member of Annapurna 4, mentioned that foreign tourists usually don't visit the mountain in autumn, but there's been a noticeable increase in domestic tourist traffic from various parts of the country. He said, "In previous years, the Annapurna base camp used to be quiet during autumn, as climbers typically arrived by helicopter in the spring.
This year, more than 200 domestic tourists have made it to the Annapurna base camp, particularly after the Dashai festival."
The Nilgiri river hydropower project has created a 20 km road to reach the North Annapurna base camp, which is 42 km from Narchang. A footpath has also been constructed 22 km from Humkhola to the base camp.
Deepak Karki from Pokhara came to explore this unique destination that can be reached on foot in just one day.
Tourists like him have traveled to the base camp from Pokhara, Beni, Kathmandu, and other places, bringing their tents, food, and supplies. Local youths are guiding these tourists on their journey.
Back on June 3, 1950, Maurice Herzog from France achieved the first ascent of the 8,071-meter-high Annapurna I.
This was a significant mountaineering milestone, occurring two years before the first ascent of Mount Everest. Annapurna is the first 8,000-meter peak ever climbed by humans.
The 'Maurice Herzog Trail' was identified in 2011, following the path Herzog took to reach the base camp for his historic climb.
The Ministry of Tourism invested 280 million rupees, and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) chipped in over 40 million rupees to develop infrastructure like footpaths, suspension bridges, and shelters to make the Annapurna base camp more accessible.
Sumnima Baruwal from Pokhrebgar described the scenic route to the base camp, highlighting the beauty of Mistrikhola's banks, the grand waterfalls, unique geography, mountains, rare flora, and fauna. Additionally, the picturesque Panchkund Lake, which covers an area of around 20,000 square meters, adds to the charm.
In May, a group of journalists and public representatives from Myagdi visited the Maurice Herzog Trail and the Annapurna base camp to promote the destination.
The Annapurna base camp was also showcased through a photo exhibition organized by the Myagdi Pravasi Nepali Sangh (MONA) Australia on their Facebook page.
Amrit Subedi, the chief administrative officer of Annapurna rural municipality, noted that tourist arrivals at the Annapurna base camp have increased due to these promotional efforts.
Chairman Bharatkumar Pun stated that the rural municipality will focus on improving infrastructure, such as food and accommodation, communication, and drinking water at the base camp.